If you are called to establish ties with the Good People, you are going to want to learn about the proper use of offerings and gifts.
According to the 1911 work of American scholar, W.Y. Evans-Wentz in his book The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries (which earned him a Doctorate of Letters from the University of Rennes, Brittany, 1907, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Oxford University in 1910), “A [Welsh] servant-maid who knows her business leaves a vessel full of water for them, and takes care that the house is neat and tidy, and then probably finds in the morning some fairy gift left to her, whereas if the house be untidy and the water dirty, they will pinch her in her sleep, and leave her black and blue.”
Evans-Wentz quotes Professor of Welsh, J.M. Jones, who adds, “I believe the Tylwyth Teg were generally looked upon as kind and good-natured, though revengeful if not well treated. And they were believed to have plenty of money at their command, which they could bestow on people whom they liked.”
So, hopefully, you are not messing about with Folk who will leave you black and blue should you have a lapse, but there you have it; it is certainly possible, hence my constant admonishing to proceed with at least great sensitivity, if not downright caution.
One of the most common, and favored gifts for the Sidhe is milk or cream. It was customary in Ireland to spill a little milk on the ground at milking time, as a gift for the Good People, as well leaving a pot or two of potatoes.
In addition, “After churning, the knife which is run through the butter in drying must not be scraped clean, for what sticks to it belongs to the fairies,” according to an Irish priest interviewed by Evans-Wentz. (Although how this doesn’t conflict with their abhorrence of iron somewhat escapes me.)
Anyway, since few of you reading this are milking cows and churning butter on a regular basis, you can at least do the next best thing. A bit of milk or cream left out at night, or (a particular favorite) some honeyed butter is a treat that is always appreciated.
To be continued, of course!